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Christian parents

Worried about the way your child is heading?

"It is up to us as Christian parents to fight a spiritual battle on behalf of our children" (Editor)

Summary

  • Are your children heading in a direction that you as a Christian parent are not happy with?
  • Do you feel powerless against the continual bombardment toward your children by the media, friends and society in general?
  • Do you rely on the scripture thought – "Bring a child up in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it"?
  • Are your children unable to receive God’s love into their lives as you would want them to?

There are exciting possibilities - read on!

Western kids vs. European kids

I had the privilege to spend several periods of time over the last few years living with Russians, well off the tourist track, in youth Summer camps and at an orphanage. Russian children are very different to western children.

Russian boys have an innocence and a respect for adults that disappeared from our western society a long time ago. In fact, they recognize their need for interaction with adults and actively pursue meeting that need. Some say they are this way because they don't have many possessions and the only 'possessions' are relationships. Whatever the reason, they are definitely good at forming relationships and tend to give away any of the few material possessions they do have. I guess they don't worship possessions like westerners do and haven't had the things of true value replaced with lesser substitutes.

The other big difference is their huge hunger to know God. If they hear the word "Jesus" or "God" in a nearby conversation, there is a mass migration crowding around the talking people to try and find out more. Can you imagine that happening in the USA or Australia?

The water is hot

Our children are in hot water. It is difficult to appreciate how hot the water is, because we are in the water with them (our western society) and it is gradually getting hotter. It is only when you are able to step out of the water into another culture of cool water that you are able to see the real state of our western children.

What is the answer?

You don’t need much imagination to understand a destructive force (Bible calls the devil) is at work amongst our children when you see the enormous pressure they are under. It is up to us as Christian parents to fight a spiritual battle on their behalf. The devil only needs to be resisted by a Christian to stop him in his tracks and then open the way for the life giver (Bible calls God) to move in!

Step #1- The Strongman

image of typical boyOn a recent flight to Russia, we were surrounded by six drunk Russian men. They had also smuggled flagons of alcohol on board the flight, so they were very drunk. Our 21 year old female team leader came under their attention and the men became increasingly obnoxious and started stroking her face and hair. Our leader (Diane) became very distressed and couldn’t escape their attention. The flight was fully booked so there were no spare seats available. Nothing we did or said to her would console or comfort her. It was up to me as the older member of the team to take action. With great uncertainty, I told the men to leave Diane alone. My grasp of Russian is very sketchy, but with the few words I knew and the tone of my voice, they complied and they left her alone for the rest of the flight. There were a few more minor episodes during the flight which required me to reassert my authority in the situation.

All that was needed was for me to take my position of authority on behalf of this girl and resist the situation that was causing the distress. I had to overcome my uncertainty and fear and do something. The situation was much more bearable for the rest of the flight, although the effects of the encounter were still evident in her.

Even though the trouble had ceased, our young leader remained distressed in a state of uneasy peace. After we landed and cleared customs, Diane fell into the arms of the friends meeting her, had a cry and she was OK after that.

The oppressor had to be stopped and removed before our leader could receive love and comfort from others and move on in her life. I didn’t know the correct language and I had no direct experience in this particular area, but I was able to change the situation for another person who, because of her inexperience, was unable to properly help herself.

"…. how can anyone enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house." Bible Matthew 12:29

Are you uncertain and inexperienced about binding a spiritual strongman? If you are a Christian, then you have spiritual authority over the powers of darkness – even if you don’t feel like it! It didn’t matter whether our team leader could hear me or not – the exchange was aimed at the ones oppressing, not at the person (your child in your case). (Note; If you are not a Christian, you won’t be able to do this first step and it is dangerous for you to try it)

What form does the strongman take? Whatever dominant negative characteristics are resident within your child is a good place to start. Rebellion, inferiority, lust, insecurity and fear are some starting points. Generally better for your child not to know about this, otherwise they will think there is something wrong with them with the associated risk of alienating them further.

Step #2 - The Holy Spirit

Enlist the help of the Holy Spirit – after all, Jesus said the Holy Spirit has been sent to earth to help us. There is a passage of scripture which describes in parables people getting their urgent needs met. The passage finishes with the covering statement "How much more will the Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask" (Luke 11:5-11)

When you invite the Holy Spirit into a specific situation, He comes in with all His attributes: softens the stony heart; draws the person to God; heals; comforts and brings life. The person is able to receive and accept the love of God into their life as well.

I shared this same story at church in response to the "hot water" our youth were in. Many parents began praying with earnest for their children and several met together regularly for the same purpose. Several months later, there has been a change in the young people. Mostly gradual, but the trend is in the right direction – the opposite to the previous direction before the serious praying began.

A recent youth camp showed the true effect of this type of prayer. There were lots of tears as God began healing hearts and hurts. There was also an amazing display of true brotherly love between all the adults and teenagers at the camp. I have never seen anything quite like this in all my years of youth work. Teenage boys breaking down in tears as they determined to tell particular adults how important they were in their lives! The bond between all was nothing short of amazing. Teenage boys actually feeling loved and accepted and expressing their love and appreciation for other people!

Since then, one of the boys (whose parents took the call to prayer seriously) has had an anonymous donation to pay for him to go on a mission trip to Russia!

How a situation can change when God is invited into it!

Miracle!

image of typical boyThe story in Russia was even more dramatic – physical miraculous healing and changed hearts!

A 12 year old boy had his front tooth knocked almost completely out when he was hit in the mouth by a steel swing set. The tooth was still in its socket but was facing straight back toward his throat. Because of the snow, no-one could get to a dentist to help him. As a last resort I prayed for him - mostly hoping to ease the pain and even wondering how well that would go. I did however ask the Holy Spirit into his situation to help him.

Over the next couple of days the boy asked me to pray for him again several times, because of the pain. On the forth morning however, when he woke up, he came running to my room to show me his tooth – it had moved completely back into its correct position overnight! All day I kept lifting his top lip to look at the tooth – it was totally normal! On top of that, without any prompting, the boy announced to me that he now loves God and asked if I could get a Bible for him! The Holy Spirit does a complete work when He is invited into a situation!

This photo is the boy with the tooth miracle. Does he look like a boy who two weeks earlier had lost his family and been sent to an orphanage or does he look like a boy who has been touched by God? Both the facts are true. I have heard, six months later, that he is still telling people what God did for him!

You don't have to be a Christian to invite the Holy Spirit into a situation - anyone can. There is nothing to fear here. God is all about restoring people. He will move into any situation He is invited into.

What now?

I’ve seen these two points work to change lives – bind the strongman and invite the Holy Spirit in. Maybe your theology has trouble accommodating this? What is there to lose – your child needs a touch of God – life is tough for our young people relying on their own strength. Change will come from the inside this way.

Bible - Old Testament example

This is a story of how King David’s wives and children were taken captive by an enemy. He pursued the enemy and recovered his family. This is a historical story but it also has spiritual parallels for Todays world. Notice in the following story, the men wept and many were bitter in spirit because of what had happened to their sons and daughters. They also wanted to blame their leader for the state of their children – do you relate to any of this?

David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day. Now the Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag and burned it and had taken captive the women and all who were in it, both young and old. They killed none of them, but carried them off as they went on their way.
When David and his men came to Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. David's two wives had been captured--Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel.
David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God. Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, "Bring me the ephod." Abiathar brought it to him, and David inquired of the LORD, "Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?" "Pursue them," he answered. "You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue."
David and the six hundred men with him came to the Besor Ravine, where some stayed behind, for two hundred men were too exhausted to cross the ravine. But David and four hundred men continued the pursuit. They found an Egyptian in a field and brought him to David. They gave him water to drink and food to eat-- part of a cake of pressed figs and two cakes of raisins. He ate and was revived, for he had not eaten any food or drunk any water for three days and three nights.
David asked him, "To whom do you belong, and where do you come from?" He said, "I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite. My master abandoned me when I became ill three days ago. We raided the Negev of the Kerethites and the territory belonging to Judah and the Negev of Caleb. And we burned Ziklag." David asked him, "Can you lead me down to this raiding party?" He answered, "Swear to me before God that you will not kill me or hand me over to my master, and I will take you down to them." He led David down, and there they were, scattered over the countryside, eating, drinking and reveling because of the great amount of plunder they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from Judah.
David fought them from dusk until the evening of the next day, and none of them got away, except four hundred young men who rode off on camels and fled.
David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives. Nothing was missing: young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken. David brought everything back. 2 Samual 30:1

The promise "bringing children up in the way they should go"?

Dr James Dobson of Focus on the Family says that the often quoted scripture Proverbs 22:6 "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it" is not a promise! In Proverbs, these are a series of probabilities – most likely if you bring your child up in a certain way he will not depart from it.

If this was a promise, it would over-ride the free will of the child. The main principle of the Bible is that God has given each a free will to do and choose as we please and to carry the consequences of those decisions. One person's actions can’t pre-determine the outcome of another person’s life in this way.

Secondly, relying on this "promise" stops us getting in and doing battle where necessary to rescue your child from the enemy. David didn’t rely on a promise that his family would return because he had brought them up in the way they should go. He went out and got them back, because that is what the situation demanded.

Conclusion

image of typical boyGod has given you, as a Christian parent, the authority to do battle in the spiritual realm for your child. King David had to physically fight solidly for 24 hours to regain his family. Your spiritual fight might be long too, but we are on the winning side, because Jesus gave us the authority when he defeated the devil.

It is also wise to have the covering and support of a Christian church and Christian friends as you launch into this "warfare". Several people praying together can have a greater effect than one.

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